Media: Seoul will not make further concessions to Washington in a dialogue on defense spending

It was previously reported that Seoul was ready to increase its contributions by 13%.

The Republic of Korea does not intend to make further concessions in negotiations with the United States on the allocation of the cost of maintaining the American military contingent in the country. This was reported on Wednesday to Yonhap agency by an informed diplomatic source.

He refused to name the amount for which Seoul agrees, noting that South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Gyeong-hwa “has already said it is the best offer” that the country is ready to make to the U.S.. In a speech to Parliament last week, Kang Gyeong-hwa said Seoul was ready to increase its contributions by 13% over the payments it made last year.

A Yonhap source also blamed the U.S. for the lack of flexibility in the negotiations, noting that the dialogue has made “virtually no progress” since early April this year.

Washington is demanding from Seoul, from 2018, an increase in the share of contributions to the 28,000 US military contingent in the Republic of Korea. South Korea’s joint defence spending was increased by 8.2 per cent to 1.04 trillion won ($915 million) in 2019. According to media reports, last year Washington demanded that Seoul’s contribution be increased to about $5 billion. Negotiations between the two countries are at an impasse because South Korea considers this amount to be excessively high.

US troops have been in South Korea since the Korean War of 1950-1953. Their conditions of stay are governed by the agreement signed by the two countries on 26 January 1950.